#1 - Mike Morse is worth more than...
Of all the things that a team would want in a deal, Mike Morse is mainly one thing. Cheap. At 5 million dollars a year he's worth taking a flier one because if he's healthy the numbers he can put up at the plate will make him worth more than that. But here's the things you don't get :
- Health - Mike Morse has missed 60 games twice in the past 3 years.
- Value away from the plate - Morse was terrible in the outfield, and not good at first. He is also is not a good baserunner.
- Youth - Mike turns 31 before next season starts
- A long deal that's cheap - Mike will be a Free Agent after next season.
In 2011 Mike Morse was a BEAST. He hit .300 with 36 doubles and 31 home runs, but his walk number (36) kept him from being an elite offensive player. In 2010 - if you expand it to 575 at bats he had in 2011 - he would have hit .291 with 29 homers but only 24 doubles (hence the large drop in SLG), with around 43 walks. Not quite as good as 2011 but pretty decent. Last year, though, expand it out and he hits .289 with 23 doubles and 24 homers, and a miserable 21 walks. That may not seem like a big deal but the drop in average and the lack of walks means Mike is making like 20 more outs. That matters a good deal. It turns him from an guy knocking on the door of the house with the elite offensive players in the majors, to a guy sitting down the road in the condo with the bats that are just ok.
With 2011 Morse you can swallow the fact he gives you nothing else but a line of T-shirts. With 2012 Morse you can't. Oh he still has value. It is .290 with 24 homers. But overall he's maybe just barely worth 5 million to your team. Now if you can stick him at DH everyday that helps a good deal, but that still limits his worth because it limits your flexibility.
In the end Morse is an ok trading chip, but he's the type that might get you a good bullpen arm not the type that is the anchor player in a deal for a good starter.
#2 - It's ok to trade Espinosa because Lombardozzi is ready to step in.
For reasons you can obviously figure out people see this
Danny : .247 189 Ks
Steve : .273 73 Ks (stats expanded based on equal at bats)
But they ignore this
Danny : .155 isoSLG (37 2B, 17 HR), 20 SB, 4.1 range, 7.1 UZR
Steve : .081 isoSLG (24 2B, 5 HR), 7 SB, 1.1 range, 1.6 UZR
What does this all mean? Well let's look at one number first
Danny : .315 OBP
Steve : .317 OBP
What this means is that Danny and Steve make about the same number of outs (assuming you like them to repeat last year's performances). So what do they do when they aren't making outs? Danny hits for power. Steve hits singles. Danny is a good baserunner. Steve is ok. Danny is a great fielder. Steve is ok.
A baseball player's job is not just to put bat on ball. It's to get XBH and drive in runs. It's to run the bases well and score runs. It's to field well. In every other aspect of baseball outside of simply making contact, Danny Espinosa is a superior player to Steve Lombardozzi. In overall value, Danny Espinosa is a much better player than Steve Lombardozzi. You will make your team noticeably worse by playing Steve Lombardozzi instead of Danny Espinosa.
You CAN trade Danny and rely on Steve, if you want. You have to look at all deals in the sense of what you are giving up and what you are getting back, and maybe you can get back something that makes up for losing Danny. But you WILL be losing something going from Espinosa to Lombardozzi. Lombo can hold 2nd down well enough that he won't hurt the team like just starting any old schlub at 2nd might, but that's about it.